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Officials: South Carolina Horses Die From Mosquito-Borne Disease

Two horses in South Carolina have died due to a mosquito-borne disease. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the diagnosis on Monday.

According to State Veterinarian Michael J. Neault, director of Clemson Livestock Poultry Health, the horses died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

One horse was a 2-year-old quarter horse gelding in Sumter County. The second was a 5-year-old quarter horse mare in Lee County.

They are the first known cases of this summer. Another case was confirmed in a horse in Berkeley County in January.

“We had some heavy rains in areas across the state over the last month which means that mosquito populations can be extremely high,” Neault said. “It is always important for horse owners to stay on top of equine vaccination schedules, but it is essential now considering the rain that we’ve had.”

Officials say these diseases have a very high mortality rate in unvaccinated horses — between 30 and 40 percent for West Nile and 90 percent for EEE. However, widespread vaccination has kept the number of cases comparatively low in South Carolina compared to nearby states.

Symptoms of EEE in horses usually develop from two to five days after exposure. The symptoms include stumbling, circling, head pressing, depression or apprehension, weakness of legs, partial paralysis, the inability to stand, muscle twitching or death.

Source : WJCL